911 Term Paper

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Jerry Winfrey Doctor McNair
History 1302
March 6, 2012
How Has America and I Changed Since September 11, 2001 (911) Almost all Americans can still remember where they were the morning of September 11, 2001. Smoke billowing from the World Trade Center across a clear blue sky is and will be etched in American minds for years to come. First American were in shocked that a terrorist attack of that magnitude could happen in New York city or Washington D.C. or any other part of America. Initially the Nation was in shock followed by anger which later led to fear. 911 changed America and my life forever. It has changed our live in many ways. President George declared a war on terror shortly after the attacks on the world trade center and the Pentagon. The U.S. gave the Taliban and the Afghan government an ultimatum to turn over Osama Bin Laden and they refused. The US and NATO invaded and the Taliban government was toppled in eight weeks with the help of the Northern Alliance. The U.S. continued to punish and pursue Al Qaeda into the mountains and surround them. Our military was within weeks of crushing Al Qaeda when the Bush Administration shifted focus to Iraq. This created a vacuum that led to an Al Qaeda resurgence. The U.S. loosing focus on Afghanistan angered our Pakistani ally. A decade later we our no closer to winning the war in Afghanistan than we were in the beginning. Even with Bin Laden dead American casualties have sky rocketed from 270 in 2008 to 3,371 last year. We are now left in a quagmire in Afghanistan because we failed to complete the job in Afghanistan, while fighting an unneeded expensive war in Iraq. (Hirsch) The War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan along with the Bush tax cuts have seriously crippled the nation’s economy sending the government five trillion additional dollars into deficient spending. President Bush and the U.S. Congress cut taxes while spending trillions of dollars on the war on terror and providing loans to failing corporations. Last decade was the first decade since the 1930s that saw zero net job growth, and the first time ever during a war. The war cost three trillion dollars, and the credit crisis cost the government another two trillion dollars. If Al Qaeda’s goal was to have the US engage them on a protracted war and drain the US financially they succeeded. (Hirsch) By the US using unilateral action (the go it alone approach), and authorizing torture, and unlimited detention we as a nation have alienated much of the world. By these actions the US has created an expensive decade long string of wars that have alienated much of the world while being distracted from the really destroying the real culprits. (Hirsch) The Homeland Security Department (HSD) was created a little over a year after September 11. Twenty two agencies were placed under the umbrella of the new department. The reason for the new department’s creation being to share information and more cooperation between the agencies to ensure that such a scenario as 9/11 does not happen again. It has largely been successful because the nation has not seen another attack since 9/11 which was greatly expected. (Abramson) The fear that many Americans experienced after 9/11 led way to us as a nation giving away some of our constitutional freedoms to be more secure. The US Congress and President Bush passed and signed into law the US Patriot Act. This has greatly empowered intelligence agencies to gather intelligence internally in the United States. No longer does an agency need a warrant to tap or listen to phone calls. The US is building a new NSA facility in Utah.to hold the transcripts of phone calls to and from Iran to credit card purchases of suspects at home. The sunset clause of the Patriot Act allows the FBI to force businesses, medical offices, and banks to hand over records that will help their investigation. The problem is the clause’s provision is classified and...
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